Recently, I was asked a question that had my tongue tied in knots. The question was simple, but as it demanded a straight forward answer, I realised it was not as simple as it sounds.
“What is your definition of success?”
Not the world’s definition. Not the dictionary’s. Not my friend’s. Not my parents’. Not society’s. MY OWN definition of success. Sure, I had thought about success in terms of money making. If you’re rich, surely you must be successful. The question would then be: how rich is successful? Ten million Naira in your account? Hundred million? One billion?
There is of course family. I chipped in that success would also be about maintaining peace in your home. The question is: how can you define a peaceful family? A family where people mind their business or a family where people carry each other’s problems on their heads?
I also mentioned investments. Financial investments. A few landed properties here and there. Cool. So, how many landed properties make you a successful person? Until you buy the whole of Ikoyi or until you buy yourself a home?
Perhaps, I should start with personalities I admire. Everyone likes Oprah, because she is successful. But what do we see in her? Her fame or her money? Her reaching out to people worldwide and retelling their stories or the fact that she can afford the latest car? That doors can open to her that would be closed to some Heads of State? Or the fact that the simplest stories on her show make her break down in tears? Or that her story is one of pain and rag to riches and glory?
How do you measure YOUR success?
I know, I know. You probably are thinking: peace of mind. That is the generic answer. The one which seems to be like a universally accepted law. Heck, it should be a universal law like the Golden Rule: You are successful when you have peace of mind.
In that case, you know you have to forgo many of the aforementioned. Because the more resources are under your control, the less peace will be rocking your mind. Think of success in terms of sacrifice. The more you are willing to let go of, the more successful you are.
So, what are you willing to let go of? The time spent with your family? Your relaxation period? Bad habits? Shopping sprees? If you were to capture success, how would it look to you? What are the specific milestones that would ensure you have arrived where you want to be. Remember success starts with defining it. How else would you know you are successful if you don’t know what success look like?
If the long haul seems hazy, try this: what will success look like to you if you were to achieve it by next year December? Write your goals down. Remember, be SPECIFIC and REALISTIC! For example, you would like to increase your income from one million Naira to two million Naira. Now, divide your list in two and write what actions you need to take regularly to achieve your goal on the left side. On the other side, the things you have to STOP doing that may hinder you from achieving your goals.
Next, divide those points into action points you need to cover daily or weekly or even monthly.
How’s your list looking?
Remember that success really is a lonely road. You are not allowed to cheat by spying on others and using their own benchmark to judge yours. For all you know, the other person may be ‘suffering and smiling’. Just decide on your own S.I Unit, stick with it and pursue success like it’s the best thing that would ever happen to you.
Actually, it is.
What is your S.I unit of success?
Photo Credit: madamenoire.com
Ifesinachi is a writer/ brand strategist and blogs at Ifesinachi’s Notes.